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LIMA 2017: Team Skytale Mode 5 IFF Touted

Leonardo and Hensoldt sign agreement to offer secure ‘Mode-5’ IFF internationally

Leonardo has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hensoldt (the new name for Airbus DS Electronics and Border Security) to offer Mode-5 IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) solutions to customers around the world. The two companies, working together as “Team Skytale,” have already been selected as preferred bidder by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to upgrade IFF systems on more than 400 land, sea and air vehicles. 

In 2020, all NATO nations are mandated to switch over to the new, more-secure ‘Mode-5’ version of the technology and other nations looking to operate alongside NATO forces will also need to be able to interact with the new standard. Mode-5 uses the latest cryptographic techniques to avoid the threat of deception by adversaries. 

Team Skytale can offer a comprehensive product portfolio and integration expertise capable to satisfy any customer needs and, notably, are able to offer a cryptographic computer or ‘crypto’ that meets the US Department of Defense AIMS 04-900(A) Option B control standard, making Team Skytale’s European solution readily exportable to a wide range of potential international customers. Nations which the team will be approaching include those who intend to upgrade their systems to the new Mode-5 standard to allow inter-operation with NATO forces. Team Skytale will be looking to Europe, the Middle East and Far-Eastern nations as potential customers.

Hensoldt is under contract to upgrade German, French, US and other armed forces’ platforms with Mode 5 IFF systems. It has already delivered IFF systems – including crypto devices – to 42 NATO and NATO-allied nations, for ground and naval applications. Among others, the company’s equipment is deployed on all German Navy ships as well as several UK Royal Navy ships. In Germany, the company has established the air traffic control/IFF network of the German Air Force covering an airspace of 1,700×1,500 kilometres. In total, the company has about 450 IFF systems under contract for more than 80 platform types.

Leonardo offers a wide portfolio of IFF interrogators suitable for different platform types. In the UK, Leonardo has previously delivered Mode-5 IFF for the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers and the Royal Air Force’s Eurofighter TYPHOONs, while in Italy Leonardo is providing Mode-5 IFF for the NH90 helicopter. Internationally, the company provides Mode-5 IFF technology for the Saab GRIPEN-E fighter and other worldwide armed forces. Looking at future IFF technologies, the company has already demonstrated reverse-IFF (air-to-ground) capabilities with the Italian Air Force on its Eurofighter TYPHOON aircraft and is currently studying the benefits of E-Scan IFF for future TYPHOON aircraft.


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